Our Vegas wedding
There are a million ways to get married in Vegas.
Go as wild as you want or plain and simple, you don’t even have to get out of the car if you don’t want to – you could have a drive-thru wedding, or how about by zip-wire on Fremont Street?
You can be glamorous and traditional, you can have a full Kiss tribute band, or you can turn up in jeans and nobody would bat an eyelid, which is why any guide you’ll ever read on getting married in Vegas is never going to tell the whole story.
But this is my whole story, or as much of it as I can remember thanks to the copious amounts of champagne everyone wants to give you as they throw up their hands and say “hey, it’s Vegas!”
Where we stayed in Vegas
On September 16th, 2016, I woke up with the most sprawling, sparkling smile on my face, one that, judging by the photo on the right, didn’t leave my face all day. The sun was beating down on the desert landscape far below outside our SLS Las Vegas hotel room, the sun that I had so desperately craved now seemed to be filling me with energy as I sprang out of bed and surveyed the snacks and drinks in the mini fridge. I remember looking round the room as the light made the pink walls glow, thinking that if there was ever a chance I was still dreaming, this was it.
I loved the SLS, and for the specifics, I’ve written another post on where to stay in Vegas which will give you all of the details of this glorious hotel:
In terms of the wedding, I don’t think we could have chosen a better place.
There are so many reasons for this, but the main ones are that:
- It photographed insanely well
- It suited our ‘aesthetic’ down to a tee
- It was in a really good location not only for us to go get our marriage license but also for us to get to our chapel
- The beauty salon there was brilliant and they did my gel manicure that morning which genuinely lasted a further three weeks of travelling through desert, down coast and all sorts of antics in between
- It has a mind blowing restaurant called Bazaar Meat by José Andres which we chose to have our wedding dinner at, allowing us to go chill in our hotel room for a little bit and not feel like we had to rush anywhere for a while after all the wedding excitement
These are all things that you might consider if you’re going to elope to Vegas – will your hotel fit in with the fantasy you have of your day? Are you going to have photos taken while you’re getting ready? Where is convenient for your wedding related activities, and is this important to you?
Where we got married in Vegas
I’ve read that there are about 50 chapels in Vegas, but there are probably thousands of places and ways you could tie the knot in addition to the ways offered by them. There is a lot of discussion as to the pros and cons of getting married in an independent chapel vs a chapel within a hotel or through an organiser, but after weighing this up carefully and looking at the costs and creative outlet involved, we opted to get married at the Viva Las Vegas Chapel, which offers everything from a Liberace theme to trips to Red Rock.
I had this really weird fear that because everything is so quick there, it would risk being disorganised or impersonal. I guess it’s not weird given that it was my wedding day, but still, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Of course they get it right – they do it literally all the time, like, round the clock, so I should never have worried about anything going less than super smoothly. And the impersonal thing? I’m not sure anyone is actually capable of that in Vegas. We were welcomed so genuinely, made to feel entirely relaxed and at ease all during the time we were filling in our paperwork, and then personally guided to the room we were getting married in.
Of course, I think it helped that we were on time and we had our s**t together – I’m not sure that anywhere could accommodate people who are disorganised or very late simply because it would be so unfair to all the other people getting married. It’s their day too!
What I do know, though, is that they would try so hard because it really does seem like they just want everyone to have the best time.
We chose the 1950s diner room, because where else would you want Elvis to serenade you? It was delightfully quirky, and our Elvis never broke character once. I honestly didn’t stop smiling the entire time.
Though we eloped just the two of us, Viva Las Vegas offers live streaming and video hosting for quite a while after the wedding, so not only can friends and family tune in and watch you live via the interwebz, they can watch it as many times as they like after! We truly live in the future, my friends.
We also ordered our transport through Viva Las Vegas, and so a special shout out to our lovely driver from Presidential Limousine is in order.
An important reason as to why we chose this chapel in particular is that it is one of the few chapels in Vegas that will allow you to have your own photographer with you (for a fee).
Usually, you have to use the in-house photographer, who I’m sure would have been wonderful, but we had our hearts set on a particular style of photography and so wanted to make sure that this wouldn’t be a problem. That particular photography style was by the fabulous Deidra Wilson Photography – go check out her work!
Our photographer even doubled as our witness.
Pro tip: don’t get so swept away with how fun everything is that you forget to actually say I do for a couple of moments.
Even more pro tip: did you know that not all Elvises are ordained? We were ‘married’ by our Elvis and then married by a minister who appeared at the end! Lots of wiping off of red lipstick for Josh that day.
The Viva Las Vegas ticked a number of boxes for us re the photographer rule, the design of their 50s diner, their Elvis packages, pricing, and location, but I think we were pretty much 1000000% sold when we realised we would get our names up in lights for the day. Is there something that would make your day extra special? It might come with a price attached, but if you can think of it, chances are, somewhere in Vegas will help you to make your dream come true, just like ours did.
Where we had photos taken in Vegas
The Neon Museum, also known as the Neon Graveyard, is where all of the old Vegas signs go to rest their final days out in the splendour of the sun. It is a non-profit dedicated to preserving the history of Las Vegas through one of its most iconic emblems – the neon sign.
You can book to have your entire ceremony here if you would like, or you can book a private photography session where you and your photographer can go around either of the exhibition areas for a set amount of time completely undisturbed. We fell in love with how bizarre and beautiful the Neon Museum looks, the colours perfectly matching what we envisaged for the day.
I’m not even going to say another word about the place – just see for yourself:
There are so many beautiful places in Vegas to have wedding photos done – Little Vegas Wedding has a very comprehensive list here. More than photos though, this was the perfect experience to end our wedding with – the art, the history, the bright colours, warmth and light – it was a really happy place where we now have cherished memories.
Where would you like to remember forever?
My top tips!
- If there’s one place you can be as extra as your heart desires, it’s here – do what you please, ask for the upgrades, take risks, throw the dice, buy the ticket, take the ride!
- It goes by in a heartbeat, so if you’re going to splurge on anything at all, make sure it’s a photographer so your memories are captured in the best possible way!
- If you get married in Vegas close to or during summertime, you’re going to be REALLY warm. If you’ve had dreams of getting married in the biggest ballgown hands can sew, then you’re going to have to sacrifice going outdoors at that time of year. I basically wore lingerie on my wedding day and I still nearly melted.
- On that topic, wear whatever the hell you want – I was asked “why red?” so many times, and certainly faced a touch of backlash before the day, but when I see these photos, I don’t think I could have worn anything else! It’s my favourite colour for clothing on me and I wanted something theatrical, fun and sexy – I think all of those boxes were ticked! So in conclusion, once again, if you’re doing Vegas anyway, you may as well wear whatever the hell you want 🙂
- If you’re doing a long haul flight to get to Vegas, give yourself a couple of days to settle in. We tried to get married, have a photoshoot, have a wedding dinner, go to a show at the Hard Rock and spend our night at ghostbar at the Palms on the second day we arrived. I was not awake for the entire time and we had what can only be described as a mutual tantrum between two year olds in a taxi at 11pm due to extreme exhaustion. I fell asleep on a fake beach. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I wish I had been awake more.
Truly, though, I wouldn’t change a thing. My heart will always be inextricably tied to this neon desert wonderland, and all of the colour, noise and sparkle of a Viva las Vegas wedding.
My dress is from Nasty Gal.
My bag is from Dolls Kill.
My boots are from ASOS.
My make up is:
- Mac for all skin products
- Anastasia Beverly Hills for eyebrow products
- Eyes are all Urban Decay
- Lips are Mac lipstick in Russian Red
Flowers were supplied by the chapel.
Josh’s ring is by Lovebullets. My ring is custom made by a designer on Etsy called Oore (it’s actually my engagement ring, but we are getting matching tattoos so I wanted to use the ring that meant so much to me already as the one on our special day.)